Newsletter - 14th June 2023
16th June: Cuppa and Catch-up at St Mary's, 2:30pm
21st June: Combined Schools' Day at St Brendan's, Dunnstown; Healthy Harold and the Life Education Van visit both schools at St Brendan's
23rd June: Last Day of Term 2; Combined Assembly at 12:15pm
10th July: Term 3 starts; Pupil-free day; Staff Professional Development Day
11th July: Students commence Term 3 classes
12th & 13th July: Combined Schools' Days at St Brendan's (note additional day for School Review)
19th & 26th July; 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd & 30th August; 6th & 13th September: Combined Schools' Days at St Brendan's, Dunnstown
As it is now Week 8, this will be our final newsletter for the term. Next week is the last week of Term 2 and the holidays will provide an opportunity to rest, relax and for many to get well as we continue to manage with a number of staff and children that are unwell.
Hopefully some of you will find some sun somewhere. Whatever you are doing, enjoy!!
There has been so much to celebrate in the past few weeks.
Our Senior boys and girls joined with St. Patrick’s Gordon and St. Brigid’s Ballan to make teams that participated in the Primary Sovereign Division of football and netball. I was lucky enough to attend each day and see our children win the grand final of both events. I was very proud of the way the children played with courage and determination, as well as good sportsmanship and inclusivity. Just another way to show that our schools are capable of doing amazing things. A huge thanks to Callum and Eleanor that helped out with the coaching and to the parents that supported the children each day.
Our Year 6 children had their second LFBF day at Ballan and the Year 5 girls attended Loreto for their SEED (Secondary Experience Day).
Teachers are currently assessing for report writing and many children have made great growth in learning.
Individual children are also shining in their out of school activities, such as netball, footy, dance, athletics and other areas that we are not always aware of.
Well done everyone!!
Teacher Professional Development
At St. Brendan’s and St. Mary’s we encourage all to learn and grow to reach fullness of life. That also includes our staff. In the past few weeks, a number of teachers have been doing Professional Development to continually learn and build their knowledge and skills. Clare has had a Maths Day; Jenny, Majella and myself have been part of Structured Literacy days; Callum attended a Learning Diversity day; Louise has joined with other RE leaders; and in the next few weeks our Admin staff are attending a two day conference to upskill in the areas of Finance and Administration tasks. On the first day of Term 3, all staff will continue with the ReLATE journey that we began last year. This will be a school closure day for the children.
It is important that we stay up to date and continue to learn so that our children can benefit.
Many of you are aware that every five years we are required to do a school review. It is a time to celebrate our successes, evaluate what we have done and plan forward for the next five years.
All of the report and data has been collated and the final step is to have an external reviewer and panel visit our schools and finalise our priorities for the future. This involves two days and will take place in the first week of Term 3 – Thursday the 13th and Friday the 14th of July. As all staff, some children and parents are involved, I have decided that for convenience we will have an extra CSD that week. Week 1 of Term 3 will look like this:
- Monday – Closure Day. Staff at ReLATE PD
- Tuesday – as normal
- Wednesday – CSD at St. Brendan’s as normal
- Thursday – An additional CSD at St. Brendan’s for school review
- Friday – CSD at St. Mary’s as normal.
As always, please see me if this causes an issue or does not work for you. Staff are more than happy to help out with transport.
Parents for School Review
I am seeking some parents for the school review on Thursday the 13th of July at 2.30pm for about 30 minutes. It simply means having a group conversation about our school. We will have an SB and a SM group. It would be great to have at least three parents in each group. Please let me know if you can help out. It will be at SB as this is the day we are having our additional CSD day and will be just before pick up time. Thank you.
On Monday the 19th of June, we are going to the Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Geelong. The aim of this excursion is to promote reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people by developing a better understanding of culture through community connection. The bus will pick up all students at St Brendan's and will depart at 9:00am. Students and staff will return to St Brendan's for afterschool pick up at 3:30pm. Parents are welcome to attend. Please contact the school before Wednesday, 14th June to indicate your wish to attend. Depending on numbers, you may need to drive down in your own car. Please note that those parents attending must have a current Working With Children Card. Please provide a copy of this to the school office.
Child Safety - eSmart Week
Part of our efforts to keep our children safe at school is teaching them to be safe online. While we address this throughout the year, last week was a specific week dedicated to this called eSmart Week. The children did a number of activities that focused on the theme- “Be your best self online”.
Across the week students were encouraged to explore topics such as:
- What you can do and say to be positive online
- How algorithms, echo chambers and customised messaging impact our view of the world
- How to use technology purposefully
- How to use your agency to influence change in the online environment
Jenny who is our eSmart coordinator across the schools also filled in a survey about what we do and teach. While the results say St. Mary’s, the results are across both schools but under one name. The results are very impressive. Well done everyone!!
On the last day of term, Friday the 23rd of June, there will be a combined assembly that all are welcome to attend. It will begin at 12.15pm at St. Mary’s. Our assemblies are opportunities for our children to share their learning with others and gain confidence in talking and presenting to an audience.
Following the assembly, parents are invited to take the children home at 1:00pm for lunch and to begin the term break.
Cuppa and Catch Up
I invite all parents to join us in the kitchen at St Mary's before pick up on Friday, the 16th June for a cuppa and chat. It will be a great opportunity to meet our new mums at St Mary's and a chance to catch up with each other. Please feel welcome to come.
An amazing amount of $297.05 has been raised for Project Compassion. Thank you to the students and their families who have donated to such a great cause.
I take this opportunity to thank everyone for their continued support of myself and the staff particularly over the term as we navigate the situation with the future of our schools. It has raised a whole host of emotions for all of us as we make decisions that are well informed, considerate and mindful of all involved.
Take care and go gently as we approach the end of the term,
Junior Room News
Here's the latest news from the members of the Junior Room:
Patrick: My favourite thing about this term at school has been learning about science. We have been learning how to be scientists and to observe living and non-living things. We even made a volcano with play dough, a plastic cup, vinegar and baking soda. Watching change happen over time has been fun and interesting.
Quinn: My favourite learning this term has been writing. I set a goal to improve my writing at the start of the year and I have been working hard to do this. I am really enjoying our Monday Writing sessions because I get to share my weekend news with everyone. I also enjoy reading and am loving chapter books, especially the Billy B Browne books.
Kaezia: I have been enjoying reading and getting to read harder books. Getting better at reading has helped me with all my other learning. I like to read at home and at school. I also like writing stories and trying to improve my spelling.
Vanessa: I like St Mary's school. I have made new friends and the teachers help me. I like learning about maths. The Picasso Cow is fun and we are learning about cows and dairy products from farm to plate.
Jeremiah: I like that I am learning on ipads sometimes. I am learning about letters and numbers. I loved the volcano eruption that we made in class on my first day of school. I have made new friends.
Adelaide: I like writing and have been learning to improve my writing. My spelling is getting better and so is my reading. I like school and I have lots of friends. My favourite thing about school is maths because I like to learn new ways to solve maths problems.
Paige: I have been working hard to improve my writing and that was one of my goals this year. I like being with my friends. I enjoy learning about science and being a scientist. I have made new friends with Vanessa and Jeremiah.
Senior Room News
In the Senior Room during Religion classes, we have been learning about the Catholic Social Teaching of Human Dignity for all and through this unit we read the Gospel passage, Love Your Enemies, Matthew 5:43-45 The children wrote a persuasive text explaining this message from Jesus and what it means. Here is some of their writing so far:
Sullivan: Jesus said to love your enemies. Love your enemies is what Jesus asked us to do. But what does that mean? Love means to show respect, to listen, include, show kind body language and to basically be friendly with the people we don't like.
Chloe: Jesus said love your enemies. Love your enemies is what Jesus said. Loving your enemies means you treat them with dignity and respect by trying to have a conversation and give them a smile. It means you don't exclude, disrespect and be rude to them. Although this may be difficult we must not forget to keep our values with us at all times.
Pat: You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy was commonly believed but Jesus challenged this idea. Love your enemies is what Jesus has asked us to do. To be kind you have to respect people youdont like and people you do like. Those who respect you doesn't mean you should do it back. Not being disrespectful sets a good example for people younger than you. Say someone your age is saying bad things about you, you shouldn't say bad things back. Something may be going on in their life that you may not know about so ask if they are ok.
Will: Love your Enemies. Love your next door neighbour and love your enemies. Say a doctor said this man just killed someone, it won't matter if I make a couple of mistakes. You should treat everyone the same. This is human dignity.
Tara: Jesus said to love your enemies. Everyone is different and that's ok. We should have dignity for all. Some people need a lot more care than others.
This coming Friday, Maeve Slater and Chloe Summers will celebrate their birthday! Maeve will turn 11 and Chloe 12. We hope it's going to be a great day for you both.
Then on Saturday, Patrick Prendergast will turn 8! Happy Birthday Patrick, we look forward to hearing all about your birthday on Monday!
Thank you to the many families and friends of the school who have donated a large number of coats for the coat drive. The Leadership Team will ensure that these are delivered to families in need in the Ballarat area. The response has been outstanding - thank you!
High School Musical
Catholic Schools Guide - Treasure Hunt
Sensory Sanctuary Neurodiversity Festival
With the school holidays just around the corner, we would love to invite you to our Neurodiversity Festival. It is a first for Victoria and likely Australia. With over 30 events on offer, we aim to bring the Autistic and neurodivergent community together to build community and better quality of life. Events can be paid for with NDIS funding.
Please use the link below to find out more information.